Welcome Home everyone. This year for my birthday I decided to do something a little different. Someone once said, “it’s your birthday you can do whatever you want.” So, what I wanted to do was to share some of my personal thoughts or reflections with you today. Is that ok?
In my text today, Paul writes to the young churches a word of encouragement regarding the advantage we believers have in Jesus Christ.
My big idea today is that we ought to reflect on the personal work of God in our lives.
My prayer for us today is that by hearing this message we emulate God’s great love to others.
If you have your Bibles today you can join me in Ephesians.
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.Ephesians 2:4-7
In order to help me share with you today, I have separated my thoughts into 2 sections or points. As I reflect on my birthday a word that comes to mind is…
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.Ephesians 2:4-5
Honestly, I’m super grateful. I’m grateful because I equate my salvation moment with an actual resurrection. I was dead in my sin and now because he loved me, he saved me a brought me back to life. By His grace you and I have been saved and those of you watching online, If you so desire you can be saved too. His love for me was not exclusive he loves each of you, as well. It is by grace you have been saved. I was powerless over my circumstances and I could not have accessed God on my own. It was by his grace that He made a way for me to encounter Him.
This was a total act of His mercy and grace. I was buried under a mass of hurt, sorrow, and bad decisions. The pain was unbearable. In this state of my life, I could no longer go on. I was out of strength, & out of hope.
My recent reflections have not been just on the sadness and pain. Rather, the gratitude highlighted the life-giving relationship I now have with Jesus Christ. Gratitude demonstrates a trust/belief that the work of the Holy Spirit is greater than the work of the enemy or the work of my own flesh. When a person exhibits a true grateful demeanor, they possess a certain knowing that a relief of misery has been accomplished. I am grateful that Jesus Christ has not just ended my misery, but He gave me new life. Jesus forgave me of my sins and all my wrongdoing. He redeemed me to my Heavenly Father and my natural family. He restored my marriage and promised us eternal life.
I’ll move on to my next point. As I reflect on my birthday another word that comes to mind is…
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.Ephesians 2:6-7
Raising us up is the prophetic promise of Christ to you and me. Proven by His own resurrection. “His riches, grace, expressed in His kindness to us.” And for me, this produces great Joy. Joy is the proof of this peace. Peace is what happens when life and communion is restored. See, its one thing to end one’s suffering, but entirely different to heal restore and reconcile someone with a new hope and anew purpose.
I used to hear people say things to try and encourage me to make better choices. But in those dark times when I was alone, I would think these people don’t know anything about my life or what it means to be in my shoes. No one in my family new what a drug addiction felt like. Now God, through his Holy Spirit made me a voice/witness to the afflicted that salvation has come, and His name is the Prince of Peace, King of Kings & the Lord of Lords! His name is Jesus
His loving-kindness His Mercy and His grace has given us the opportunity to participate in His eternal promises and divine purpose.
I’ll close with this.
Gratitude, Peace, & joy are the result of what God has done in our lives. These this I tell you today, because As I reflect on the most important things, these reflections are the most important things I want people to know. Don’t get me wrong I love my family and the work that we do, But the expressing the Grace and loving kindness of God and His live giving salvation is the most important thing I can think of.
Will you join me as we seek an authentic relationship united in Christ and each other? Rejecting division, embracing God’s reality in Jesus, and encouraging one another. It’s just between you and God. Here’s the thing, If we love God and abide in Christ we will find ourselves more and more loving each other. You will we more and you will love better. We will experience God in spirit and in truth and we will share that amongst each other. Share all the ways God has shown you mercy and grace. Will you allow the Holy Spirit to stir faith in someone through your testimony? Would you join me as the Holy Spirit moves on us to be unified in the spirit of Christ? These are the kingdom values. This is truly the work of God. The intentional actions of the body of Christ. Remember the devil seeks only to kill steal and destroy. Steal your freedom, kill your joy, and destroy your destiny for hope and love. But God has a plan! He’s stealing from your neighbor, your family, and your loved ones today.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16
Jesus, He’s the Son of the living God, and we can receive from Him today His Righteousness, His purpose and His calling. Will you call on him today? Your salvation/forgiveness is just one prayer away. Will you trust in his ability to do what He said He would do? Will you believe today? Many of you need a fresh touch from God today. Is there some form of unbelief or a fracture of trust as it relates to God in your life today? God wants to redeem and restore those areas of your life? He wants to restore Joy and hope for you today. You’re hearing this now and the Holy Spirit has brought someone or something to mind. He wants to speak life into this today. He wants to bring healing in this area today. There are areas of deep regret when it comes to your relationship with God and you have rejected Christ as your savior …It’s not too late.
It’s not too late to humble yourself before him today, hold out your arms and open your hands to receive from him today. Will you say yes to Jesus, today? Will you bow your heads with me? Some of you already know the Lord, but maybe he’s put something on your heart that you need to deal with, you need to ask his forgiveness today. If that’s you will you just acknowledge that to him today. This is just you and God here. Now someone here may not have that relationship with Jesus and today you’ve felt him tugging at your heart, you’ve been hurt, and you’re guarded, I know. Jesus is here and wants set things right in your life. If you’ll say Pastor, I want Jesus to be my Lord and savior. Remember, it’s just you and God here. Will you pray with me today, We’ll pray here as a family and you can repeat after me?
Jesus, I know that I’m a sinner. I ask you today for your forgiveness. I believe that you died for my sins and on that 3rd day, you rose from the dead. I ask you to come into my heart today. I trust and follow you as my Lord and savior. Guide me and help me to do your will. In Jesus’ name Amen.
“‘“The Lord bless youNumbers 6:24-26
and keep you;
25 the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”’